Tags: America's Forum | Barack Obama | Russia | Leon Aron | Vladimir Putin | Russia | Ukraine

Russia Expert: Casualties Will Push Putin From Ukraine

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 01:55 PM

The war in Ukraine will have to turn bloodier and more politically dangerous for Russian President Vladimir Putin before he considers ending his aggression there — and that means the West should arm the Ukrainians, because sanctions alone have failed, a prominent Russia scholar tells Newsmax TV.

"The only thing that could get him out of Ukraine quickly is the Ukrainian army beginning to push back and eventually recovering the territory" seized by separatist rebels, Leon Aron, director of Russian studies at the American Enterprise Institute, told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Tuesday.

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Growing pressure on President Barack Obama to arm Ukrainian government forces is a sign that sanctions haven't had the desired effect — but the threat of a military quagmire might, said Aron.

"Putin is not a madman," said Aron. "The Russian casualties in Ukraine are a very touchy subject and very political to the point where Putin created his own foreign legion, so that it's not Russians, but others — usually from the former Soviet republics — that are hired to fight."

Aron said the existing sanctions are useful for causing "galloping inflation" in the country's everyday economy and "gradually" raising political pressure on Putin.

"The problem is that we look at sanctions as something that will get Putin out of the battlefield in Ukraine," said Aron. "They won't."

Aron said Putin is too invested in the "mythology of NATO attacking Russia through Ukraine, of Ukrainians … decimating the ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine" to reverse course.

"The time has come, indeed, to try and send defensive weapons — missiles, radars, anti-aircraft missiles," said Aron, adding, "We may be about six months late."

The idea is to make the fighting in Ukraine unbearable at home — "not because Putin cannot commit another 10,000 troops and go all the way to Kiev," said Aron. "He can, but he is afraid that this conflict becomes a domestic political issue."

Aron also discussed a report that Russia has secretly bankrolled U.S. environmental opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Putin "probably signed off on it," Aron said of the alleged scheme to pass Russian money through Bermuda to environmental groups, including the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.

"I'm sure they're using everything to stop this huge slide in the price of oil," Aron said of Russian leaders. "And that is the lifeblood of the nation. That is half the Russian budget. This is where the pinch is."

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The war in Ukraine will have to turn bloodier and more politically dangerous for Russian President Vladimir Putin before he considers ending his aggression there - and that means the West should arm the Ukrainians, a prominent Russia scholar tells Newsmax TV.
Leon Aron, Vladimir Putin, Russia, Ukraine, Army
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2015-55-03
Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 01:55 PM
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